Comments about ‘Mormon tithing under national media microscope after Mitt Romney releases his financial data’

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Published: Wednesday, Jan. 25 2012 4:00 p.m. MST

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Maudine
SLC, UT

given all the legitimate reasons not to vote for Romney why worry about his tithings?

S.Andrew Zaelit
Deseret, UT

I can think of nothing better for Romney than to have the national media and the Evangelical Christians to engage in religious scrutiny. Talk about a win win for Romney should this gain traction. Hard core Evangelicals would be exposed for religious bigotry once and for all, and the national media will have to admit that the religious aspect that they overlooked with Candidate Obama should have been vetted more closely. All Romney will have to do is sit back and let it play out.

The sad part is that charitable donations to religion are very common. Somehow, I doubt donations to the Catholic Church, local Jewish Synagogue, or Evangelical Church would even blip on the radar. I suspect that the national media would write story after story of praise if Obama donated enough of his money to build a church, or if Newt donated a substantial sum to a local Virginia Christian Church. The vast majority of Americans do not care about the religious affiliation as much as the moral and ethical character of the candidate that they support. However, religious bigotry is one of the most difficult character flaws to eliminate.

CottageCheese
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

S.Andrew

I agree. At first I was a little weary about bringing religion to the table... but ultimately it might work out in Romney's favor.

Thinkman
Provo, UT

Mormon tithing money goes towards what exactly?

Let us list those things:
-Temples
-Ward/Stake buildings
-Seminary buildings
-University system: BYU, BYUI, BYUH
-Temples
-Missionaries who can't afford to pay their own way
-Stipends/salaries for General Authorities
-City mall in SLC
-Temples
-Visitor centers
-Members' mortgages
-Temples
-General Conference
-Church Educational System
-Temples

Did I miss anything?

Free Agency
Salt Lake City, UT

Romney's got nothing to be defensive about regarding being faithful to the requirements of his Church. Surely we'd want our President to demonstrate faithfulness to his/her deepest values.

But if he became President, Romney would *not* have the right to base his national decisions--e.g., on gay marriage--with the position his Church holds. Rick Santorum has, incredibly, taken his Catholic Church's position into the public arena by saying that *no one* should use contraceptives because "it's not how things are supposed to be."

I hope Romney has a better understanding of the separation of Church and State, and that, while giving his devotion to both, he respects the boundaries of each.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! Romney's taxes revealed that besides his Cayman Islands stash, Mitt, also had a Swiss Bank Account. For being such a genius Romney really has a tin ear when it comes to appearances. By not releasing all of this tax records he has opened the door for his opponents to start a process of "death by a thousand cuts" chorus of requests for the rest of his tax records. Doesn't anyone remember the frothing over Obama's birth certificate? Brace yourselves for the endless theories about what Romney didn't report.

UteMiguel
Go Utes, CA

@Thinkman,
I think you forgot temples.

LDSareChristians
Anchorage, AK

@Thinkman,
You missed the mark on these two.
-Stipends/salaries for General Authorities
-City mall in SLC

These are funded from a endownment/investment fund growing since the 1920's

pmccombs
Orem, UT

Thinkman,

Add salaries for regular church employees and bureaucrats,
FamilySearch,
Large-scale wellfare operations,
Real-estate,
Computer systems and office supplies,
Church fleet and maintenance,
Travel,
lots and lots of printing (correlated/standardized curricula, tithing slips, etc., etc),
Media such as movies and ads,
and Clothing

Probably not so much "Mortgages for Members" or "Missionaries who can't afford to pay their own way." Those would come from a local unit's fast offering fund in the former case, or the local missionary fund. There are also general funds for missionary and humanitarian aid in case there is a shortfall in the local unit, but these are separate from tithing funds.

Gordon B. Hinkley said it best, which I here summarize: Tithing keeps the business/capital end of the church going. It's the corporate revenue stream. The ecclesiastical end of the church (what other religions simply understand to be "church") is funded by whatever additional donations, beyond tithing, the members choose to give.

spring street
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

S.Andrew Zaelit

"the national media will have to admit that the religious aspect that they overlooked with Candidate Obama should have been vetted more closely." This subject along with his birth certificate where vetted well beyond reason during the last campaign just because they where proven to be pointless and unfounded does not mean they where not covered. At this point the only people that believe it is an issue are those that will never be convinced no matter what anyone says or does.

Neanderthal
Salt Lake City, UT

@Thinkman:

"Did I miss anything?"

Support (groceries, rent, utilities) for the poor and needy.

And what do contributions by Catholics and Evangelicals go for?

Mostly preacher's/Priests salaries and benefits... and law suits by sexually molested children (as reported several times in the Deseret News Paper).

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

Thinkman,
You missed LDS Employment centers (my previous point was they accept everyone, I clearly said they did not do a possible exclusionary activity I mentioned, I brought that up because many jobs require it to get highered.)
2- The Mall in Salt Lake City is receiving no tithing funds towards its building. President Hinckley made that 100% clear.
3- The stipends the general authorities and some mission presidents recieve are not funded from tithing.

You also missed the publication of lesson manuals, the creation of audio-visual equitment (such as the New Testament videos), the creation of websites, the ward budgets and many other things.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

The claim "tithing should not count as tax deductable because it does not help the needy" is misunderstanding possible tax deducations.

People can get tax deducations for donating to universities, for donating to non-profit legal advocacy groups, for donating to groups that sponsor the arts and for many other donations to groups that do not have benefitting the poor as their primary, or even as any of their functions.

On the other hand there are some charities that claim to be helping the poor but actually function more to give large salaries to their employees. This is the point people make about donations to LDS Humanitarian Services. The money donated there goes 100% to help the poor. Overhead costs are funded from tithing.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

Political leaders have the right to base their policy decisions on their moral goals. What they should not do is pass laws that forbid other peoples beluiefs. No candidate for the presidency has advocated such.

People have the right to seek government regulation of behavior. If you do not like the regulation you favor, that is also your right. However public policy that affects the entire population, such as questions of how the government will think of a family and what purpose the government will ascribe to families, are issues that should be decided by the people through the legislative process and they have a right to use any methods they want to advocate such things, and to hold opinions for any specific reason.

That said, there is substantial non-religious discussions of why man/woman marriage is the optimal situation.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

pmccombs,
What is the source for your quote?

Tithing is what keeps the buildings maintained, allows the building of new buildings, allows the publications of Church materials, is a factor in the publication of copies of the Book of Mormon (although there is a Book of Mormon fund) and many other such things. If building Church buildings and temples is not the Church side of the Church, than what is?

snowman
Provo, UT

Thinkman:

Let us list those things:
-Temples No
-Ward/Stake buildings No
-Seminary buildings No
-University system: BYU, BYUI, BYUH Definitely not
-Temples again no
-Missionaries who can't afford to pay their own way No
-Stipends/salaries for General Authorities General Authorities are not paid
-City mall in SLC No
-Temples No
-Visitor centers No
-Members' mortgages Definitely not
-Temples No
-General Conference No
-Church Educational System Maybe
-Temples No

You missed a lot.

liberal larry: He didn't have to release his tax records. That is between him and the Federal Government.

snowman
Provo, UT

pmccombs | 7:41 p.m. Jan. 25, 2012
Orem, UT

Add salaries for regular church employees and bureaucrats, They are not paid from tithing

FamilySearch, Isn't paid for by tithing
Large-scale wellfare operations,
Real-estate, Is Not paid with tithing
Computer systems and office supplies, Not paid with tithing
Church fleet and maintenance,
Travel, Not paid with Tithing
lots and lots of printing (correlated/standardized curricula, tithing slips, etc., etc),
Media such as movies and ads,
and Clothing Not paid with tithing

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

All you people who claim all these things are not paid for by tithing, how do you know that? I have yet to see a financial breakdown on how the churchs spends its money,ane from what sources. And if fact, I know that some of these "no" answers are not accurate.

Can you please provide your source for this information. And if all these things are not paid for with any tithing money, please explain the funding model.

Frankly Romney's tithing is a non issue here in North Carolina. Most the churches around here have a tithe... nothing new under the sun on this issue.

Ponch#
OGDEN, UT

I think the problem with Mitt's tithing is that it displays non-nominal behavior.

First, would be LDS church membership. Most people in Florida don't know much about the church. People fear the unknown.

Second, is the amount and regulation of tithing. It's unusual for people in general to tithe so much of their income, and in such a formalized method (as part of taxes). In catholic church, people just throw a few bucks into a hat for the most part.

So from the Floridian perspective, some of this may seem kind of weird. Considering my past perspective (I've lived mostly outside of Utah), I would think it unusual, and would approach it apprehensively.

Of course, in Utah, it's normal behavior.

Rocket Science
Brigham City, UT

The whole subject came up because Newt demanded Mitt release his tax returns before the SC primary. Now we have to discuss Mitt giving away a good portion of his earnings. We see Mitt is consistent with his faith and is charitable person. Mmany have to bash how he shouldn't be able to deduct those amounts or use the legal (capital gains) he qualifies for.

It is interesting that Newt did not ask for Mitt's tax returns until just after he released his. Who says he should demand the timing of voluntarily releasing tax returns. There is no law that says one has to at all. Other candidates have not yet release theirs. Newt just saw he could get traction from the anti-wealthy feelings of many so he is using the same tactics as the democrats. But Newt's Idea is to eliminate the capital gains tax altogether. Mitt Romney's idea for taxing capital gains is to only allow two hundred thousand dollars of earnings before then taxes would kick in.

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